What should the Denver Broncos do about their quarterback situation during the offseason? Mile High Report discusses it in this post.
We’ve made it! The final position review is here and we timed it perfectly to allow the Super Bowl results to be known. Tom Brady is a seven time champion and the Kansas City Chiefs will not join the Denver Broncos as the only AFC West teams with back-to-back titles.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved that even a great defensive performance still needs an elite quarterback to keep a guy like Patrick Mahomes on the ropes facing a steep uphill climb. With that said, all signs point to Drew Lock not being the kind of quarterback that will be among those elite caliber guys, so what are the Broncos to do about it?
I discussed several realistic options with Scotty Payne and Joe Rowles over the weekend. Some are more realistic than others, but these were the four that I felt a lot of us either want really bad to happen or that we think are likely to be pursued if other scenarios don’t work out.
Scenario #1: Sign cheapish veteran in free agency to compete with Drew Lock
Tim Lynch: In this first scenario, the Denver Broncos decide to keep Drew Lock and sign some cheap veteran quarterback in free agency.
Joe Rowles: What am I supposed to say? I expect this scenario and it’ll get Fangio fired.
Scotty Payne: What Joe said.
Tim: Okay then. Well, what veteran QBs would the Broncos potentially look at bringing in and could any of them move the needle to put Denver into contention with a little luck and good defense?
Joe: There’s a bunch but all of them will probably beat Drew Lock out in a fair competition so I doubt George Paton and the Broncos won’t bring them in.
Tim: Why so pessimistic on that? They offered the 9th overall pick AND Drew Lock for Matthew Stafford. Why wouldn’t they bring in a guy who could beat Lock out in free agency if worse comes to worse?
Joe: The insiders are floating Nick Foles and Andy Dalton. Both are little more than mock competition to play the PR game with.
Scotty: What Joe said again.
Tim: Okay, is there a free agent type quarterback out there that would be a bit more serious of an option if Denver really wants to compete in 2021? The non-pessimistic potential options. lol
Joe: There’s a ton even if we ignore the “possibility” of Dak Prescott. Drew Lock was one of the worst quarterbacks in football last year.
A few off the top of my head are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston.
Tim: Of the guys on that list, Prescott would be an elite guy to add. Not quite the mold of the veteran that I think makes it into this list. However, the other three on your list would be interesting and fun in 2021.
Scenario #2: Trade Drew Lock and whatever else it costs for Deshaun Watson
Tim: In this scenario, the Broncos are the winner of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes and have their 2021 season and beyond completely reshaped in one trade.
Joe: I wrote about what the roster could feasibly look like if they went this route a couple weeks ago.
Let’s get the circular Deshaun Watson argument out of the way: Watson has a no-trade clause so he could feasibly say no to any team. As of now there is reason to believe he isn’t opposed to Denver.
So the reason the Broncos would fail to acquire Deshaun Watson comes down to three things. Either A) the Texans don’t trade Watson at all. B) Another team outbids the Broncos for Deshaun Watson because they have more ammunition or C) George Paton and the Broncos don’t go “all in” to acquire him and pull out of the race.
It’s hard to imagine a cost too high for Deshaun Watson, but I expect C.
Scotty: The ideal option, obviously.
Tim: Agreed. I am all-in on Watson even if the asking price is three first round picks. It’s already been 5 years wandering through the quarterback wilderness and I am definitely ready to eat a short term loss in draft capital for a decade-long fix at the most important position in the league.
Scenario #3: Roll with Drew Lock and a Top 10 quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft
Tim: Here, the Broncos lose out on all trades and free agent signings, so they put a focus on the 2021 NFL Draft. They could land a quarterback with the ninth overall pick, but they might need to trade up to get one.
Scotty: Why keep Lock around if you’re drafting a QB top 10?
Joe: If Deshaun Watson doesn’t happen for whatever reason this is the scenario I’m advocating for.
I spoke with Jeff Essary on Cover 2 Broncos as to why it’d make sense to keep Lock around even after you draft a Zach Wilson or Justin Fields.
It puts the ball in his court. Similar to why I think Paton should bring in a real veteran if he goes stopgap route: make Drew Lock actually improve if he wants to start. With the way Covid-19 will continue to impact the 2021 offseason it will be difficult for most rookies to step in and thrive off the jump. If Lock can hold Wilson off, let him. Worst case scenario you have a starting quarterback and a valuable trade chip.
Scenario #4: All in on Drew Lock adding a backup quarterback and/or late round pick
This is the scenario that neither Scotty nor Joe had any interest in discussing, but it could be the most likely avenue new General Manager George Paton pursues for this season. Head Coach Vic Fangio would need to count on Drew Lock taking a massive leap in his development and help get the Broncos into playoff contention.
If that happens great, but if not then I don’t see any way Fangio survives as head coach. From there, Paton will treat 2022 as his first real year on the job moving forward with a new coach and new quarterback from there.
What do you think Broncos Country?